I’ve always been one for worst-case scenarios. I remember an elaborate plan, hatched in the middle of a sleepless night, in which I put an elevator in my closet to be used if someone tried to break into our house.
Sometimes, my mom would run to pick up my dad from work (we had one car at the time). She would leave my brother and I at home, usually to get ready for bed or finish cleaning our rooms. I hated being left alone.
I would fight my terror one breath at a time, in and out. For some reason, though it made no logical sense, the sound of that train whistle helped slow my breathing, my pounding heart, and my racing mind, quick to invent evil.
When I was lying awake, or home alone, worried about my safety or whether my appendix was likely to explode (if I had a stomach ache) the sound of a train whistle would almost always help.
I am no longer a little girl. Still, I get scared and stay awake into the night, for different reasons, usually. Recently, I was awake, sleep elusive, worried and exhausted, when I heard it—the sound of a train whistle, wafting through the night.
Nothing changed, it still makes no logical sense, but my breathing started to slow, just a little. I gathered my courage and turned off the light.